Nikki McAllister (Dame 2016-23)

Barton Hill said farewell to our most beloved Dame, Nikki, at the end of the Lent term, following her brave and inspiring battle with cancer.

Nikki arrived at Barton Hill in 2016, having previously worked in the Estates Department at the Porters Lodge. A whirlwind of energy, passion and enthusiasm, Nikki immediately established herself as ‘Mummy’ of the House, and stamped her unique blend of warmth, care, and joie de vivre on the House.

Words cannot do justice to the impact Nikki had on the Barton Hill boys. They doted on her, and every afternoon her tiny office overflowed with boys, who sought Nikki’s wisdom, comfort, encouragement, or just a cuddle with Phoebe the House spaniel!

Nikki had life experience in abundance, having travelled the world during her incredibly rich and diverse early career. A little bit of Nikki’s heart always remained in her beloved Austria, and she loved regaling the boys with tales of her time looking after Olympic athletes in the Alps. Nikki dealt effortlessly with the challenges of looking after 60 wildly differing and eccentric teenage boys. Her wicked sense of humour was always to the fore, as was her inexhaustible capacity for love and compassion. She simply adored the boys, and they adored her.

The inscription on the beautiful bench gifted to the House by the 2023 leavers captures perfectly what she meant to the place: “The heart of Barton Hill, who has changed the lives of so many boys, and will never be forgotten”.